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Silverman Paul M.; Baker, Mark E.; Cooper, Cirrelda; Kelvin, Frederick M.
Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: January-February 1986

The extent of pathologic processes involving the mesentery is frequently difficult to assess by clinical examination and standard radiography. Contrast studies of the gastrointestinal tract only identify the effect of these processes on adjacent opacified bowel loops and frequently underestimate the extent of mesenteric pathology. Computed tomography has previously been used to characterize various mesenteric abnormalities, most often secondary to malignant or inflammatory disease. We report the characteristic CT appearance of diffuse mesenteric edema in 14 patients. Eleven patients had documented hypoalbuminemia, two patients superior mesenteric vein thrombosis, and one patent cirrhosis. The CT findings that allowed confident diagnosis of this entity include increase in density of the mesenteric fat. poor definition of segmental mesenteric vessels, relative sparing of the retroperitoneal fat, and association with subcutaneous edema.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.